Analogies are to Verbal Reasoning as Jelly is to …

Custard. OK – that doesn’t quite work but surely these are the iconic 11+ Verbal Reasoning questions from way back then. They certainly bring me back to clouds of chalk dust and hot, sunny days trapped in a mobile classroom.

In these questions you are given most of an analogy. For example,

SMELL is to NOSE, as SOUND is to …

  • Mouth
  • Song
  • Ear
  • Poetry
  • None of the Above

…and you must choose the correct answer from a list of options. And watch out for that tricky “None of the Above” wildcard if it exists. The best strategy is to repeat the analogy but each time include one of the answers. One should sound exactly right and, hopefully, the others will sound wrong. Also, the type of word (noun, verb etc) should match. In the above example, the NOSE is a noun for a bodily part. In this case, your answer should also be one. If nothing sounds right, then it’s a none of the above but always double-check.

Don’t underestimate these questions, though. They can be tricky and examine not just vocabulary but also knowledge of sentence construction. Let’s consider a second example.

BUS is to TRANSPORT, as MAGAZINE is to …

  • Typing
  • Publishing
  • Editor
  • Newsroom
  • Photography

In this case, think about transport. It is a collective term or a classification of nouns which include buses but also cars, aircraft etc. So “Bus” is one of the things that make up the “Transport” system or industry. Equally, magazines are one of the things that make up the Publishing industry.

These definitely require thought, though.